I am not going to beat around the bush here, I may be in a small minority, but I have vowed to speak the truth so here goes. I bloody love lockdown. Before you unsubscribe, unfollow and tell all your friends about the crazy woman you read about this morning, let me explain. In a world which barely stops for breath, this isolation has given us a few weeks of calm and clarity and I can’t pretend, even for a moment, that I have not enjoyed it. I have found the time to catch up, get back in the race and slow my ragged pant. I am somewhat of a hermit at the best of times, given the choice I would sit at home on a Friday night and read a book with a glass of wine. I prefer solitary activities. I thrive in my own space. For some people this may be hard to understand. It doesn’t mean I don’t like people, although generally I would prefer the company of my cat. It just means that I need time on my own in order to function like a normal working human being. This time has taken away the routine pressure to go out and the compelling guilt of not doing so. I am dreading even the prospect of returning to normality and when the time comes I will have to be dragged back kicking and screaming from my lair.
I am an introvert who is living with an extrovert. These are two very unique character traits and the truth is, it is often hard to fully empathize with each other. Especially during lockdown. Extroverts and Introverts may never fully understand what the other is thinking and that is ok. The important thing is to accept the other for who they are and avoid judgement or criticism because neither are able to change.
Below is a list of tips which you might recognize as an introvert or take advice from as an extrovert. This will make for a happy life and relationship, be it with a partner, family member, friend, or colleague.
AVOID PRESSURE! As an introvert do not feel pressure from anyone to do things that simply do not work for you. If you need that day of solitude, take it. If you don’t want to go to that party, don’t go. Your mental wellbeing is paramount. Having said that, it is necessary to avoid becoming a recluse so, every so often, you really do have to make an effort to see people. No one wants to end up like a cast away Tom Hanks. Extroverts, understand that we are not doing this to be difficult or rude, we won’t be bored or lonely. On the contrary, you’ll find us on the sofa, the laptop an inch from our retina, crying over a rom-com and having the time of our lives.
SPEAK UP! Introverts can be hesitant to share ideas or opinions with others, it is easy for us to become paralyzed by over analysis or the quest for perfection and be over critical thinking our thoughts are not valid and valued among extroverts. Wrong, get those ideas out there. Extroverts, don’t assume because an introvert hasn’t given their opinion that they don’t have one, give us the time we need to feel comfortable and open enough to express ourselves around you and you’ll find us much more talkative and passionate.
UNDERSTAND! Try to be understanding. As an introvert, not speaking to someone for a few days is not a big deal, we do not need constant chatter around us, in fact the less you talk the more connected we feel. Don’t worry when we are quiet, the chances are everything is okay. We are not mad or upset or giving you the silent treatment, it is not something that we can get over or a habit that we can break, it is just who we are. We are not shy, we are not rude, we are not closed off. We are not anti-social. We are not disengaged. We are not boring. We just simply need the energy of communication far less than you do. Give us the space we need to recharge.
GET DEEPER! We love meaningful conversations and quality time together; we don’t enjoy wasting energy on the trivial. This is not to say that every talk that you have together has to be life affirming, it just means that there has to be potential for us to delve deeper in order for the relationship to grow. We are deep thinkers, deep feelers, deep sharers but only to a proven few, if you have cracked an introvert, you’re there to stay.